I’m Not Afraid

“You like being stupid?”

“No sir. I didn’t say that.” I said stiffly, staring at him intently.

“Then say what you mean or keep your mouth shut.”

“I — I just meant that I like being spontaneous.”

He just keeps staring.

“I guess, I guess what I mean is that like to be — I mean, I like not being, I guess, um, w — w — well,” I rub my hand over my face, looking away for the first time, searching for a way out.

“Spit it out,” he growls at me.

“Um, non-sequiturs.” I blurt out. I shove my shaking hands in my pockets and glance back up at him, before looking away again. The floor. The wall. Something.

“Explain,” he grunts.

I run a hand through my hair, a nervous habit that I picked up somewhere I can’t begin to remember. Especially not then.

“Ah, da– , I — I — I,” my mouth opens and closes a few times soundlessly, “I, I mean, what seems like n – n – non, non-sequiturs to – to most p – p – people are are ac – actually just just a – a – a train — well, I mean, a continued tr – tr – train of thoughts to me.”

“And?”

“I – I like, well, I don’t like con – confusing people so – so – so much, but – but – but rather I – I like sh – sh – showing them that I’m st – still listening. You know, just – just to let – let people know that I haven’t zoned out.” I breathe, thinking to myself that this is not at all what I was trying to say, but at this point, I’d rather be anywhere else, in any other conversation.

“So you blurt out random crap just to let people know that you’re still in the conversation?”

“I don’t – I don’t – I don’t,” I say helplessly, shaking my head back and forth repeatedly in a “no” gesture.

“Well, whatever your reasons are, I don’t want to hear it while we’re on the field. You get me?”

“Oo, yes sir. But that’s what I’m trying to tell you sir; I’m not – not trying to, to piss you off.”

“I don’t have time for this. Either spit it out or get out of my face. Get it?”

I close my eyes, running my hand over the top of my head again, rubbing the other hand over my mouth like Jack in The Shining keeps doing (that’s probably where I picked that up). I grit my teeth and shut my eyes, and then I open them and stare right at him.

“I’m not trying to piss you off on purpose. It’s just that sometimes I can’t say what I mean right when you ask. Or else, I say what I mean, but not in a way that makes sense to anyone else. I’m n – not st – stupid. Sir. I – I just can’t translate right s – sometimes.” I say and force myself to keep my hands out of my pockets, still at the ends of my straightened arms.

“Okay.” He says, as if this was the easiest conversation in the world. “Then just nod or shake your head when I ask a question. Understand me?”

“Ah, yessir.”

“Don’t say anything else. Just shake or nod. Understand?”

“Ah–.” I nod. I do understand. A lot more than he ever will.

I’m not afraid, even though he terrifies me.

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~ by lastcrazyhorn on June 7, 2008.

6 Responses to “I’m Not Afraid”

  1. Don’t know what to say to that… People just… *NODS*

  2. Ugh. Just one word that this person needs to learn: COMPASSION.

    You’re braver than me. I would have burst out in tears.

  3. He wouldn’t have cared if I had. He was my college marching band instructor. He was also the percussion tech for the Carolina Crown – a North Carolina based drum corp. Both of these facts made him a supreme hardass.

  4. Well, now that I know who he is…where does he live!! What an ass. Hopefully no one will ever be this evil to you again!

  5. You just taught me a lesson. Now I know why my son blurts things out. He is listening and doesn’t want to be left out.
    Dang. Thanks, sometimes us NT’s need to not blurt out as well.

  6. He was an adult bully. Period. And you’re right- if you cried, it would have just fueled his fire for more student misery.

    Ugh. Even college professors need to learn how to deal with reality.

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